STRANGER THINGS 3.

I like it.

I was thinking about what made Stranger Things such a successful show. There’s so many elements that could (and did) attribute to it’s success. Nostalgia, fun and fleshed out characters, thrilling scenarios and an interesting world. This show has a lot going for it.

What would I attribute it’s success to? It’s unique and approachable.

What makes a show WORK? Well that’s simple, a show works when it executes it’s ideas and narrative well.

Many shows and movies now-a-days seem like they are manufactured in order to reach as broad an audience as possible. Marvel is an excellent example of this: Marvel movies are fun, exciting, and humorous. They have a formula that is intended to reach a large amount of people, and to be entertaining to those people. They are successful because they (often) make quality movies that effectively pull off their formula.

Movies and television shows attempting to become successful based off of their approachability is a trap though. They do not become successful because they appeal to a broad audience. They become successful because they are made well.

I would make the point that Stranger Things is so successful because it is extremely approachable while also being unique. Never in my life have I ever wanted to watch sci-fi thrillers; yet I love Stranger Things.  That’s a testament to it’s quality.

It’s fun.

I had fun watching season 3 of Stranger Things. It sucks you in with an interesting story about aliens from a different dimension, Russian spies, a kid with super-powers and her friends who are trying to get to the bottom of all the weird things that are happening in their small town.

It has characters that you can relate to. It has dialogue that is fun and forwards the plot. It uses humor to take the edge off of the intense situations, and has kids taking their lives into their own hands attempting to save their town.

The show takes something that could easily be made for a niche audience (sci-fi thriller. Scary monsters.) and makes it fun and easy to watch using relatable characters, intelligent writing, and humor.

It’s a great example of how shows and movies are more successful when they focus on the right things, and do them well. There are plenty of movies and shows that have interesting and unique ideas that are bad. They’re bad because they don’t focus on characterization and good storytelling. I won’t care about how interesting the premise of a show is if I don’t care about the characters. Stranger Things made me care about the characters first, and I was so sucked in that I completely forgot that I’m not the least bit interested in sci-fi thrillers.

So, you know, watch it.

Oh you thought I was going to actually review it and talk about story beats or summarize episodes or something?

Yeah no.

 

 

*BOOK REVIEW* MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS.

SHOUT OUT TO MY FREAKY FRIDAY LOVECRAFT FANS OUT THERE. I just love that scene where Lindsey Lohan grows a bunch of squid arms and her and her mean girl squid squad eradicate the human race.

At The Mountains of Madness is a book by famous cosmic horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. It’s a book about a group of scientists who discover an unknown and alien world in the unexplored dark regions of the Antarctic.

This book was my first taste of this strange world that Lovecraft invented.

I quite enjoyed it.

I had a conversation recently with a friend on what the actual point of reading is. I told him that in my opinion, books are a way of learning and experiencing ideas and worlds that you wouldn’t have thought of yourself.

Not only is it a powerful tool to expand your mind, you can also experience vast and incredible universes similar or completely different from our own. This escapism is a window into the world and ideas that the author has created.

I would recommend escaping to the interesting and curious world Lovecraft has created. Here’s a few reasons why:

World building and atmosphere.

Let’s talk about ATMOSPHERE. It’s inescapable, curious, and fear filled. This book sucks you into a visceral and imaginitive world. The author does a great job of taking something plainly from our world and blending it realistically with the weird and alien.

The characters are a tool for you to view this strange world, the author doesn’t dwell on developing them or giving them much personality. That isn’t their purpose. Their purpose is to explore this finely crafted world and to show you what they find.

This writing style is called Antiquarianism. Yep, it’s a thing, I looked it up. It means that the characters or writer is more concerned about the imperical evidence rather than feelings or character development. This writing style works incredibly well for cosmic horror, because it allows us to gain a ton of information about this fictional world. The characters are not wheezing and fear stricken sheep, they’re scientists or reporters on a mission to discover. They put themselves in danger regardless of fear so they can learn about an ancient, alien, and hostile environment.

(By the way, this book is about aliens. Aliens with adorable little squid arms. Squishy, murdery, intelligent little aliens. Cosmic aliens. . . There’s also a big-ol’ Penguin or two.)

This book shows a brief moment in time in a fleshed out and ambitious fictional world. You travel through a dead city in the Antarctic, and learn about an ancient and supreme civilization. The book may be scary at points, but that’s not the point. The “idea” is the fear of the unknown. The insatiable lust for knowledge that pushes humanity into danger. The fear of things that are bigger than yourself. The book becomes tense and thrilling because Lovecraft is a great world-builder.

At The Mountains of Madness is an experience. It’s a pretty slow paced book that focuses on the details. While the details make it a bit dryer, it also steeps it in a heavy and realistic atmosphere that really makes the reader feel like the unexplainable and unrealistic events that are happening in the book could have happened.

Solid recommend. Love squid people? Love intelligent plants that come to life and eat all your dogs? This book might be for you.

You’ll also learn a ton about mural decorating and alien archetecture.

I’m gonna start a Cthulu Pinterest soon.

“Here’s how to make a hand-made squid bracelet”

“Here’s how to paint a mathematically perfect mural about the downfall of the elder ones”

Oh God I’ve become one of those weird Lovecraft people that makes strange references that nobody else understands.

And I’ve only read one book. Oh dear.